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The question about what makes a good motorcycle is very subjective. I've ridden allsorts down the years but nothing has come close to the FJR for all round competency.
The machine looks superb from the outset and if anything the design of the bike disguises it's size. The front fairing is large enough to offer good weather protection and the bike can be ridden without the aid of waterproofs in all but the heaviest rain without getting wet. An electrically operated, infinitely adjustable front screen is man enough to be operated at high speeds and when in the fully raised position directs almost all airflow over this 6 foot rider's head.
The torque and power of the FJR have to be experienced to be believed. The power is delivered is a friendly manner and you never feel you're hanging onto an uncontrollable animal but at the same time it never feels like it's running out of steam. When the throttle is opened up properly there is a very satisfying whine from the gearbox to accompany the incredible acceleration.
When I bought the bike I was initially sceptical that a 5 speed gearbox would be flexible enough for a bike designed to go long distance touring but they have got the mix of power and gearing just right . The torque is produced from very low revs which means lazy, relaxed riding can be the order of the day if required. On the other hand, if you fancy a more spirited ride the fuel injected 1298cc engine is up for some fun too. Motorway miles are a pleasure and three figure speeds are acheived at a little under 6000rpm which gives a theoretical indicated top speed of 153mph.
My bike is used for everything from commuting to playing out to touring and it has proved equally competent in all those roles. The bike is slender enough to cope with West London commuting and low speed handling is fine. At the other end of the scale my longest day in the saddle was about 450 miles with no discomfort at all. Pillion comfort is as you would expect for a purpose built tourer and the rear suspension (which like the front is fully adjustable) can be stiffened up for two up riding at the flick of a nifty lever located near the left foot peg.
I run it on Bridgestone 020's all year round and handling is always predictable with plenty of warning should you push it a bit too hard. I manage about 5,500 from the rears and about 7k from the fronts.
Fuel economy is stable at 49-51mpg, dropping to about 47 on a long, high speed journey.
Now the bad bits...
The only negative comment I have with regards to handling is that between 15 and 30mph there is a tendancy for the front wheel to turn into corners slightly but it's only slight, always predictable and to be expected on a bike of this weight.
The rear drive hub was replaced under warranty at 12months old due to the paint starting to blister. This second hub also suffered from blistering, again at about 12months but Yamaha refused to replace it a second time offering instead to have it repainted by my dealer. Not really good enough. What is the point of painting a surface which itself is insecure? The blistering is only slight on this second hub and I've decided to live with it for now. The bike is used all year round and apart from the drive hub problem the finish is as good as it was when new.
Yamaha have marketed the bike as a sports tourer and in my opinion they've got it absolutely right. Would I have another one... you bet !
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